Off-roading is one of the most entertaining activities to do. Many people take to either sliding around in the sand dunes, rock crawling, or mudding. While off roading can be a whole lot of fun, there is no doubt that it isn’t the safest outdoor pastime. And while you can’t eliminate the risk of off-roading you certainly can take a few minor steps to greatly improve your safety and ensure that you can have a great time on one of your many adventures.
Saftey Guidelines for Off-Roading
- Have the Right Gear- First things first, start out with the right off-road vehicle. If you don’t have an off-road vehicle don’t worry as you can most likely find a place to rent a vehicle from wherever you go. Make sure your vehicle is at least all wheel drive(AWD), but four wheel drive (4WD) is preferred. Make sure you have real off road tires with long travel suspension. Also, make sure your vehicle is sealed to take any possible damage from rocks, sand, water, dust, etc. If or when you get stuck it’s necessary to bring tow gear to allow a fellow driver or your off roading buddy to help pull your car out of a ditch, allowing your off roading day to continue.
- Look at the Road Surface-In order to prevent going into a ditch, you need to look at the road surface. Make sure your tires go into or around the ruts in the road from previous off-roaders depending on your strategy. Understand how your car reacts to different surfaces including pebbles, boulders, wet, snow, dirt, sand, etc. While on the road you should be looking far ahead, but while off road you should be looking fairly close so that you can react quickly to any sudden changes in the road surface. If you like going in deep bodies of water it would be best if you could know the depth of the water.
- Lower Tire Pressure-Just like Monster Trucks do, you as well should lower your tire pressure when off-roading. The lower tire pressure allows the tire to flex and find traction on the loose or awkward surface. Typically most people run 10 psi or lower although there are risks the lower your tire pressure is. The lower the tire pressure the lower your ground clearance is, although good suspension should make up for it. The other reason is that the tire will be more likely to pop off the rim or puncture. But again real off-road tires should at least be engineered to combat this.
- Know Your Limits-Finally, you should know the limits of not only yourself as a capable off-road driver, but also the limits of your vehicle. Know the angles and ground clearance levels of your vehicle so that you can crawl high inclines and declines without the trie running into your bumper or worst of all bottom out your vehicle.
While you don’t need to be a geometry major to rock crawl, it is best if you come prepared if you want to have a good time.
For those just starting on the build of your first off-road vehicle the task can be somewhat daunting. After all with so many different vehicle platforms to start with it may be hard to determine which is the best, most durable and will offer the best parts and availability of these parts on your custom build journey. Here are our top 4 best off-road vehicle platforms to start with should you need a little guidance of advice!
Best Off-Road Vehicle Platforms
- Jeep Cherokee- This vehicle is huge when it comes to the off-roading world because of how affordable it is to get started with and because of the availability of aftermarket parts. Kits are also reasonably priced and offers ease for people with ALL skill levels to get started building their off-road vehicle.
- Toyota Tacoma- This is platform is great for either trail or desert vehicles and will excel in both styles of build. It starts out with great 4 wheel drive and the ability to add on various configurations. The aftermarket parts world offers an abundance of lift kits, bumpers and other parts.
- Chevy Silverado- This truck is probably the largest and most powerful of all off-road terrain vehicles and has been extremely popular since it was first introduced. It offers a very large aftermarket parts world almost as large as that of Jeeps and can be built for trail or desert. One thing to consider is it doesn’t easily maneuver in tight spaces when built for trails but it does offer exceptional speed when used for desert terrain.
- Ford Ranger- Although only built from 1983-1997 Rangers are extremely easy to find and are great starter off-road vehicles like that of Jeep Cherokees. The aftermarket parts world offers a great selection of parts and although the truck is small it packs a lot of power. The truck was built with a twin traction beam and this is often more durable then the independent front suspension found on most trucks, although this does deter some when deciding which vehicle platform to get started with. The front end is easily modified and you will see this most in desert off-road terrain verses that of off-road trail terrain.
When it comes to building your off-road vehicle a lot depends on the preference of the driver. It is best to look into all of your options as well as availability of parts before deciding completely on how you want to start. The fun of customizing your vehicle is that you are able to modify to exactly your standards So do some research have some fun and as always be safe! The off-road world is full of adventure and fun to be had, those that are just entering into it we promise you will be hooked as soon as you start!
Hello fellow off-roaders and off-roading lovers! Our site is dedicated to providing and sharing all things about the off-road world. We are especially interested in the customization and building of off-road vehicles and the many different parts that are available out there to enhance and make your off-roading adventures that much better! We hope that yoou enjoy our site and the knowledge and ideas we provide and invite you to share our posts with those around you!